Cook: Increasing teacher salaries and school safety

Posted by: Allison Vanatsky  | Friday, March 1, 2019

All my life I have been dedicated to the education of young Hoosiers. Today, I continue to look for ways to improve Indiana schools. This session, we are working on several priorities including enhancing school safety to increasing teacher pay.

To help keep our schools safe, I authored House Bill 1398, which would allow law enforcement records of students to be shared with appropriate school staff. Under current law, police cannot share student files with schools, even if it may concern a threat to safety. Allowing police and school administrators to share information could help prevent potential threats from escalating to action. To protect the privacy of students, police would have discretion to keep documents confidential that are not related to safety. Additionally, schools would be authorized, but not required to share files with law enforcement. For example, if the police request documents from the school, the school would not be compelled to disclose any records if they believe there is no threat. Opening up this communication between school corporations and law enforcement would help protect our schools while respecting the privacy of students.

Good teachers are vital to the development of our students and deserve appropriate compensation for their work. To enhance teacher pay, another bill I authored would give schools more flexibility in how they spend their funding. Schools currently have three primary pools of money to spend: the education fund for classroom expenditures, the operation fund for other costs, and a rainy day fund, which is surplus money at the end of the year that can be used to cover one-time expenses. House Bill 1397 would enable schools to transfer portions of the operations fund to the education fund to cover the costs of teacher salaries and benefits. This change would improve local control of school spending and drive more dollars to the classroom, while maintaining transparency.

Our schools are where the future is built and we need to do more to ensure they remain strong and positive learning environments. It’s extremely important that our classrooms are well-funded and safe, and my legislation would help accomplish these goals. You can find more information on these bills and more at iga.in.gov. For any questions you have about this legislation, please contact me at H32@iga.in.gov or 317-232-9863. 

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State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) represents House District 32, which includes all of

Tipton County and portions of Hamilton, Madison, Delaware, Howard and Grant counties.

A high-resolution photo of Cook can be downloaded by clicking here.